Three things learned in Red Sox' 3-0 loss to Tampa Bay
1) Suddenly, the Red Sox offense has stalled out
Through the first nine games, the Red Sox were averaging 5.5 runs per game - and that included one game in which they were shutout altogether.
But in the last four games, the Red Sox have scored a total of 10 runs. And that's a bit misleading, since the Sox were held to a single run for the first eight innings on Monday and and were held to a single run on Sunday -- until they made things interesting with two more in the ninth.
In fact, over the last three games, the Red Sox have scored just six runs in the last 33 innings. And they've only scored in four different innings in the last 28 innings they've played.
Part of the problem has been the leadoff spot, where Mookie Betts is just 4-for-21 and hasn't been able to set the table. But others are slumping, too. Xander Bogaerts is 2-for-20. David Ortiz is 2-for-12. Dustin Pedroia is 3-for-15.
It's not unusual for a lineup to get hot together -- as the Sox did for the first 10 or so days of the season. Nor is it atypical for it to go cold as a group.
That's what the Red Sox are dealing with now. And it's not about to get easier with Chris Archer set to start for Tampa Bay Wednesday.
2) If Travis Shaw is any sort of guide, Joe Kelly will miss significant time
Shaw was diagnosed with a shoulder impingement while playing winter ball in Puerto Rico last December.
"It's definitely not fun,'' said Shaw. "I could tell something was wrong (with Kelly). It seemed like every time he threw a fastball tonight, he kind of. . .you could tell something was up. Hopefully, it's not as severe or serious as mine was this off-season.''
Shaw needed to shut it down for "four, five, six weeks. It was at least a month. Even after that, it still took a while to build back that arm strength...I took a swing and the next day, my arm completely shut down. I don't know what the diagnosis is for Joe, but mine was pretty painful to throw the ball.''
It's dangerous to compare injuries, since no two are the same. But if it took a corner infielder almost six weeks before he could resume throwing, that's a sobering timetable for a pitcher, who exerts far more pressure on his shoulder than a position player.
3) Drew Smyly has the Red Sox number
Smyly was masterful in limiting the Red Sox to a single hit over eight shutout innings. He's now held them scoreless over the last 20 1/3 innings dating back to last season and has allowed just one earned run in his last four starts against the Sox since the start of 2015.
In eight career starts against the Sox, he sports a 1.48 ERA.
"He pitched a heck of a ballgame,'' said Farrell. "He had a constant mix of stuff. He throws a lot of strikes. He's got deception. As the scouting report said, he was going to look to expand the strike zone down, particularly with a sharp, biting breaking ball. But he had a backdoor cutter against righthanders to get back in the count. He has an assortment of pitches that he used to negate our bats.''
Smyly retired the side in order in every inning but the third and retired the final 17 Sox hitters he faced in a row.
Clearly, the fault lies with Dave Dombrowski. As the GM of the Detroit Tigers, he sent Smyly and a minor league shortstop to the Rays as part of a three-team deal -- all to get some lefty named Price.